Years ago, I wrote a piece called Deliberate Joy - Applied Manually.
This week, It has dawned on me more than once that - given the name of this domain, perhaps I should write something regarding the actual act of scavenging joy. Hence a similarly titled blog entry - same gist with a little more life experience. Unfortunately as of late, my mind defaults to sadness. I’ve always been advised that happiness and a joy are a CHOICE - I am certainly getting a crash course in that concept since the loss of my husband. The moments where joy actually felt fake and counter-intuitive in the midst of grief are actually what gave me the name #JoyScavenger. I have literally felt like my circumstance was a rubble pile, under which I was digging to find any scrap, or remnant of happiness that resided there before.
Sometimes the smallest things go a long way toward making you feel better during the grief process. Yesterday for me it was vacuuming my carpet. My affinity for lines in the carpet may speak to some other things in me worth examining, but in the moment, those carpet lines were the perfect ending to my day, and actually helped me sleep a little better. The elimination of little specs of lint in the carpet, and the look of a freshly vacuumed floor made everything in my world perfect for a second… nevermind the actuality of my grief. Do what you need to do… if you feel like stepping outside… go OUTSIDE…whether its a mid-morning walk down the street, or just randomly stepping out into the back yard, or onto the patio at 3 am, just to say you did it.
This is all part of giving yourself grace. There are so many ways to give yourself a little shot of joy that cost you little or no money. One cheap way to cheer up is to travel back to childhood by purchasing a coloring book and a box of crayons. There is so much to be said lately of the relaxing properties of coloring, that adult coloring books have become quite popular. I personally find some of the adult coloring books a little too detailed, and the spaces to color too small. I prefer actual children’s coloring books with familiar characters and larger spaces to color in. So instead of peacocks and stained glass, you’re likely to find me coloring a picture of Doc McStuffins. Whatever it takes. . .
In the early days after my husband’s death, the presence of happiness was zero. My family flew out. Hearing voices in my house before waking up was healing for me. Having my boy’s uncle around to roughhouse, and generate laughs in my oldest that only come from horseplay, wrestling, and being lifted higher than I could ever lift him was healing for me. As my budget allowed, I replaced a piece of furniture in my bedroom, and this new piece makes me smile every time I look at it. Joy is a decision . . .sometimes that decision comes easier, and may even be involuntary. In times of grief, that joy application may feel fake, generic and contrived. Go with it. Do yourself a favor and switch your thoughts even for a minute. It is likely that the love you lost would want to see you happy even if for a second. Comment below - it could help someone reading this. How do you inject joy into your life during hard times?